Book List of the Week

Book List of the Week: Carlo Ratti

By Steve Kroeter October 20, 2014
Carlo Ratti, architect, Carlo Ratti Associati (Turin, Italy); director of MIT SENSEable City Laboratory (Cambridge MA). Photo: Lars Krüger
View Carlo Ratti’s Book List

As founder and director of MIT’s SENSEable City Laboratory, Carlo Ratti investigates how digital technologies are changing urban living. Trained as an architect (he runs an architecture firm in Turin, Italy) and engineer, he also has several patents to his name. His Digital Water Pavilion, exhibited at the 2008 World Expo in Barcelona, was hailed by Time magazine as one of the Best Inventions of the Year.

Ratti is author of six books on big data and city planning, including Decoding the City, published this September by Birkhäuser.

His selections for Designers & Books “fundamentally challenge the status quo of architecture, urbanism, and design,” Ratti writes in the introduction to his book list. “They present new ingredients and recipes for future transformations in urban life and society.”

Digital Water Pavilion designed by Carlo Ratti, 2008 World Expo Photo: courtesy of Carlo Ratti Associati

Among these are Lewis Mumford’s The City in History, from 1961 (“An expansive journey from the beginning of human habitation to the present,” Ratti comments), and Buckminster Fuller’s Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, from 1967 (“some of the sharpest design-based ideas for the contemporary global condition”). There is also Marguerite Yourcenar’s fictional Memoirs of Hadrian, from 1951, which describes the 2nd-century city of Antinopolis created by the Roman emperor Hadrian—“a city created,” Ratti comments, “not for efficiency, politics, or commerce, but for love.”

A recent title on Ratti’s book list is Anthony Hacker’s 2013 book, Smart Cities, about “how our cities are becoming computers ‘en plein air.’” Another is Rem Koolhaas’s Fundamentals, the official catalogue for the much debated 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale.

We’ll be giving away copies of Fundamentals (published by Marsilio, distributed by Rizzoli) as part of of a special “Design Books to Win” drawing in partnership with Knoll on October 29. To receive information about this giveaway and updates about “Design Books to Win, ”subscribe by e-mail, follow Designers & Books on Twitter and Facebook, or use the hashtag #bookstowin 

View Carlo Ratti’s Book List

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